Creating a GPU hierarchy is a hard task, but it’s not impossible. With so much variety in the world of graphics cards, it’ll be for the best that we sort them in separate tiers.
We’ve also decided to sort the cards within the actual tiers, so these rankings are definitely open for discussion.
To avoid overcrowding, only cards from the last two generations from AMD and Nvidia will be considered, as well as brand new Ampere and RDNA cards.
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Compared to the rest of the GPUs on the market, cards from this tier are considered more suitable for enthusiasts who want to play at 4K resolution, and at the very least at 60 FPS as well, with RTX 3090 offering 8K. Of course, there are also professional graphics cards out there, but they’re not used for gaming as much as for complex AI research or software development, such as the Nvidia Titan RTX and the Nvidia Titan V.
The situation in this tier changed up a bit with the release of AMD’s RDNA 2 graphics cards. Nvidia has been the undisputed ruler for the better half of the last decade, but now it seems that AMD is back to challenge the competition.
For the first time in a while, Nvidia’s enthusiast-class card got some competition from AMD. In fact, even its flagship got competition, but the flagships are a notch below the competition for a top spot.
However, despite AMD’s strong attempt at conquering the GPU throne, it is Nvidia’s RTX 3090 who still sits firmly on top of it. Still, the RX 6900 XT has shown itself to be a good card and takes second place but only just ahead of the RTX 3080.
|2.||RX 6900 XT||AMD|
|4.||RX 6800 XT||AMD|
Cards in this tier offer a pretty good performance at a much more affordable price, although understandably not as good as those from the above tier.
Nonetheless, although these cards are capable of giving you stable 60 FPS gaming at 4K resolution, this is probably not the case with Ultra settings. At the top we have the RX 6800, followed extremely closely by RTX 3070. Despite the latter having a slightly more affordable price, the RX 6800 is still a better graphics card, and both outperform the previous generation’s top card, the RTX 2080 Ti, by a solid margin.
Still the once-coveted RTX 2080 Ti still outperforms Nvidia’s latest budget card, the RTX 3060 Ti, but that was sort of expected given their initial positions on the market.
From this point, the performance drops are more gradual but still noticeable. Here we have RTX 2080 Super, a small distance ahead of RTX 2070 Super and its base version. From Nvidia’s Pascal architecture, we have the Titan Xp as a top representative, as well as the Titan X and GTX 1080 Ti. This is where AMD’s last-generation cards are able to compete as well with the RX 5700 XT and Radeon VII.
The reason why the RX 5700 XT is above Radeon VII is because of its RDNA architecture, although Radeon VII certainly makes a strong case for itself with its 16 GB of HBM2 memory.
As those two AMD cards are taking a place here, it would be unfair to leave out the RTX 2070 and the RTX 2060 Super.
|3.||RTX 2080 Ti||Nvidia|
|4.||RTX 3060 Ti||Nvidia|
|5.||RTX 2080 Super||Nvidia|
|6.||RTX 2070 Super||Nvidia|
|10.||GTX 1080 Ti||Nvidia|
|11.||RX 5700 XT||AMD|
|14.||RTX 2060 Super||Nvidia|
‘B’ does not stand for ‘bad’ or ‘budget’. In fact, these are perfectly serviceable cards that will provide you with a good performance for budget-friendly builds. One thing that should also be carefully considered is that in this tier we’ll see the last cards in the GPU hierarchy that support real-time raytracing.
The king of this tier is the AMD RX 5700 because of its good price point and is one of the best economical GPUs out there. Right next to it we have the RX Vega 64 and the RX 5600 XT.
As you can see below, this tier consists mostly of AMD cards with some less powerful GPUs from Nvidia, such as the RTX 2060, the GTX 1080 and the GTX 1070 Ti.
|2.||RX Vega 64||AMD|
|3.||RX 5600 XT||AMD|
|6.||RX Vega 56||AMD|
|7.||GTX 1070 Ti||Nvidia|
At this point, we’re at half the price of RTX 2080 Ti, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t game with these cards.
They might not be able to pull off 1440p, but 1080p and 60 FPS at high settings can be acceptable as well, depending on your preferences. It’s vital to note that this won’t really be possible on some of the most demanding games. Further lowering the settings may be necessary for 60 FPS gaming.
Here’s where Nvidia reigns supreme once more, with stellar GPUs like GTX 1660 Ti and GTX 1660 Super, which are closely followed by GTX 1070 and GTX 1660. AMD didn’t go missing here, although their performance in this rank is below par with their representative RX 5500 XT, both 4GB and 8GB version, coming strongly behind Nvidia.
Sandwiched between these two versions of RX 5500 XT is Nvidia’s GTX 1650 Super. Bottoming out the C tier we have GTX 1060 6GB.
|1.||GTX 1660 Ti||Nvidia|
|2.||GTX 1660 Super||Nvidia|
|5.||RX 5500 XT 8GB||AMD|
|6.||GTX 1650 Super||Nvidia|
|7.||RX 5500 XT 4GB||AMD|
|8.||GTX 1060 6GB||Nvidia|
Budget cards belonging in this tier are at the bottom of the list for a reason. That being said, you can still obtain a solid performance with these GPUs. Even if you’re on a tight budget, there should still be a hierarchy for you to make an informed, personal decision.
Here, the top pick, unlike in the past tiers, does not have a good case for the tier above. The top of D tier is GTX 1650, closely trailed by GTX 1060 3GB. Due to the previously imposed restrictions, the only other members of this tier are GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1050.
|2.||GTX 1060 3GB||Nvidia|
|3.||GTX 1050 Ti||Nvidia|
Final Words On The GPU Hierarchy
Although there are a few cards that could perform on the same level as some of the cards from our GPU hierarchy, they were excluded for a reason. As mentioned before, only the last two generations of AMD and Nvidia GPUs were included. This means you won’t find cards older than 5th generation GCN and Pascal.